Balinese Teacher speaks to mark ulyseas

A Balinese schoolteacher somewhere in Bali…

“I want to learn.

I want to do further studies in a foreign university because I will learn much more and when I return I can get a better job, maybe in a government school, as the pay is very good. I could also be a professional translator – English/Indonesian/English for the tourism business.

Without better education, I will remain a nobody struggling to eat everyday.”

Putu, Balinese school teacher pic by mark ulyseas

23 years old.
Her educational qualifications:

  • SMP– Sekolah Menengah Pratama – Junior High School – Class 7 to 9. Balinese taught only till Class 9.
  • SMA – Sekolah Menengah Atas Senior High School – Class 10 to 12
  • SPD Maha Saraswati University, Denpasar, Bali. 3 yrs 6 mths. Strata 1.Studied English. No books only lectures. However, one can photocopy books, as the books are expensive. The university has large library.

“This was the expenditure incurred by my parents when I was in school.

My three siblings are school going.

  • A. Tuition fees 12 months  = US$42.00
  • Two sets of books US$ 20.00 per year   = US$20.00
  • Uniforms 3 different colours   = US$10.50
  • Private Tuition per year = US$60.00
  • Sundry expenses e.g. per year = US$25.00
  • TOTAL Average Cost per child per year = US$157.50
  • B. Total per year for 1 brother/2 sisters/self 4 x 157.50 = US$ 630.00 this does not include transport, food at school,medical,misc.
  • C. Both parents are teachers each earning approx. US$200 per month
  • 2 x US$200 x 12 months = US$ 2400.00
  • D. Deduct Education for children (C) US$2400 (B) $ 630.00 = US$$1770.00
  • Balance in hand for household expenses – food, transport,
  • Medical, ceremonies, clothes for 6 members of the family for one year this averages US$25/per member per month/and per day  =US$ 00.83

The monthly deficit works usually out to around $150/- and sometimes more when ceremonies/festivals/accidents/illnesses occur.

This was the situation when I completed my schooling. Now it is much harder as basic living costs have risen, for example the price of food.”

Presently, Putu is a part time English teacher in a primary school earning US$50 per month.She also does private tuitions for 4 students once a week for a total monthly fee of US$ 12.00.

“I don’t want to get married now; maybe in another five years. I will continue to contribute to family expenses as my parents have educated me. They believe that without education one cannot go forward in life.”

And yes I will marry a Balinese, because I am proud to be Balinese!

  • Note
  • 01.School children must buy their textbooks from their teacher.
  • 02. There is no standardization of textbooks.
  • 03.In government schools tuition fees are waived for all students till Class 6. But the overheads like uniform books etc. have to be paid for.
  • 04. Many children drop out after Class 9 (on completing SMP) because their families cannot afford to pay the tuition fees etc. for Classes 10 onwards (SMA). One can see them working in warungs and other businesses at the bottom rung of the workforce.
  • 05. Unsubstantiated reports reveal that Bali has a shortfall of 9,000 teachers for the Balinese language and Hindu religion.

If you want to help this schoolteacher to travel abroad for further studies please contact

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om